Barbara's Blog

Now is the Time to Prep for Performance Reviews

Posted on 11/19/2015 by Barbara Blake in leadership executive coaching Leadership; Onboarding; Executive Coaching communication leadership development leadership coaching

Turn performance reviews into a tool of leadership excellence. Follow the four steps to meaningful and fruitful conversations that develops your team.

The approach of year end generally signals the beginning of Performance Review time.  It is tempting to leave the reviews to the last minute.  After all it is just paperwork, annoying paperwork and you have a lot to do before the books close.  Your team members are as likely as you to dislike the process.  It is this process that separates the exceptional leader from the average one. What type of leader do you want to be?

What can you do to make performance reviews a conduit for discussion, planning and accountability?  Start the conversation now.  Here’s how.

1.  Define your expectations for your team.  What questions do you want them to answer? (Use this tool to help you plan your expectations and the conversation.)  Suggested questions:

  •  If you could have a do over, which situation would that be and what would you do differently?  What ideas to you have to catch yourself before you make the poor decision or the inappropriate remarks?
  • What activities would make your job more interesting and motivating?  What preparation have you done to take on those activities?  What support would you need?
  • Who have you helped to grow and how did you do it and measure it?
  • What goals will set for yourself? 

2.  Schedule short meetings with each team member to go over your expectations and get their agreement.  Ask them to develop their expectations of you and communicate these to you in a few days time.

3.  Communicate Corporate and Departmental goals to ensure alignment of personal goals with common goals.  This can be done either one-on-one or as a group. 

4.  If you haven’t been keeping notes now is the time to capture the full year of projects, daily work etc, Take time to reflect on each person’s performance going back to January.  Has there been growth?  What obstacles prevented success?  What part did you play in creating or removing the obstacle?  What could be their next career move?

By following these four steps you have a rough draft of your comments to complete the forms and more importantly, you have the right mix of analysis, insight and future thinking by everyone to have a fruitful conversation with each team member.  Through preparation, the process is no longer dreaded but positively anticipated.

Now that you have a process, there is no need to wait for an annual meeting next year to have an in depth conversation.  Respected leaders engage in these conversations with their team members several times a year.  Taking the time now saves time later.  And you will be a better leader with a more motivated and high functioning team.


"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others."  Jack Welch


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